Tuesday, September 23


A Terabyte Here...

A terabyte here, a terabyte there, soon you're talking real storage.

I recently bought myself a DVD writer so that I can do backups of my 3.5 million (or whatever the number is) files. I also ordered 100 DVD-Rs (Shintaro 4x disks, in case anyone is interested), so that I'd have something to backup to.

Meanwhile, my disks are filling up. Fill fill fill. Also, I still have six IBM Deathstar drives in use. These are the notorious GXP-75 series, which have a half-life of about 12 months. Suckiest disk drives since the days of Miniscribe.*

So I bought 6 Maxtor 120GB drives to replace the 6 45GB Deathstars. Got them cheap too, although the bargain price I got will look pretty ordinary in a month and hideously expensive in six. Only problem is, the Deathstars are in use and have stuff on them - more stuff than I have space to copy elsewhere. After all, if I still had 180GB free I wouldn't be buying more disks.**

So I need the DVDs to back up the Deathstars so I can take them out of use before they do that for themselves. Only... Only the DVDs are coming by Australia Post, who did what they are best at and lost them.

It's not the first expensive shipment that Australia Post have lost for me. The only comfort I have is that this time it's C.O.D., which means that I haven't paid for it. I still don't have the DVDs, which is a nuisance, but at least I'm not out of pocket.

The supplier managed to get confirmation from Australia Post today that yes, they (Australia Post) had lost my DVDs, and they (the supplier) are sending me another shipment. Maybe I should have suggested they put a GPS tracker on this lot.

* Not one of the computer biz's better moments:

In mid-December 1987, Miniscribe's management, with Wiles' approval and Schleibaum's assistance, engaged in an extensive cover-up which included recording the shipment of bricks as in-transit inventory. To implement the plan, Miniscribe employees first rented an empty warehouse in Boulder, Colorado, and procured ten, forty-eight foot exclusive-use trailers. They then purchased 26,000 bricks from the Colorado Brick Company.

On Saturday, December 18, 1987, Schleibaum, Taranta, Huff, Lorea and others gathered at the warehouse. Wiles did not attend. From early morning to late afternoon, those present loaded the bricks onto pallets, shrink wrapped the pallets, and boxed them.

The weight of each brick pallet approximated the weight of a pallet of disk drives. The brick pallets then were loaded onto the trailers and taken to a farm in Larimer County, Colorado.

Miniscribe's books, however, showed the bricks as in-transit inventory worth approximately $4,000,000. Employees at two of Miniscribe's buyers, CompuAdd and CalAbco, had agreed to refuse fictitious inventory shipments from Miniscribe totalling $4,000,000. Miniscribe then reversed the purported sales and added the fictitious inventory shipments into the company's inventory records.

See here for more.

** I can't back up the Deathstars onto the Maxtors because I want to build the Maxtors into a RAID-5 array, and I have neither the drive bays nor the IDE controllers to run another six drives off my Linux box.*** I doubt the power supply would be particularly happy either.

*** Huh. Come to think of it, I do have enough IDE channels to put another six drives on that box. The cabling would be... problematic at best, so I think I'll take a pass on that.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:42 AM | Comments (14) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1 That would no doubt be very interesting if I had understood any of it.....

Posted by: Susie at Tuesday, September 23 2003 12:09 PM (0+cMc)

2 Do you have a spare comp? You could just create the second RAID-5 array and slap the spare onto the network and copy everything over. Also, if you could free up one of the IBMs, you might be able to use something and compress a backup version of everything on the other 5. Otherwise, I forsee a long week of DVD burning.

Posted by: Chris C. at Tuesday, September 23 2003 03:49 PM (Fuc2o)

3 I foresee a long week of DVD burning. :)

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Wednesday, September 24 2003 12:59 AM (LBXBY)

4 Have you thought about a DLT tape drive? You can get at least 80 gig per tape.

Posted by: Pete at Wednesday, September 24 2003 09:01 AM (3ENEt)

5 And they're so cheap! (Cough.) DVD-Rs have the advantage of actually costing less than the disks they are backing up.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Wednesday, September 24 2003 11:31 AM (jtW2s)

6 OT: Pixy, I sent you an e-mail. Please let me know if you got it.

Posted by: Jennifer at Thursday, September 25 2003 02:44 AM (LNFFk)

7 Hi Jen! Yep, got your email. But its at home and I'm at work... I'll get it set up tonight.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Thursday, September 25 2003 03:05 AM (LBXBY)

8 Cool. :-)

Posted by: Jennifer at Thursday, September 25 2003 03:10 AM (LNFFk)

9 The dangers of not backing up. I should know better than to not back up. In fact, I had a tape drive on my Linux server so that I could automate the backup process. Too bad I could never get it to work properly. Damn windoze only software from the maker! Two days ago my server committed suicide. The power supply blew. No problem, I thought. I'll yank the power supply from my workstation, stick it in the server to get it back up quickly, then run down to the store and get a new one for my workstation. I've been wanting a bigger one, anyway. A few minutes later I'm staring at the server wondering why the damn thing wasn't booting. Sigh. Ok, now I need to yank the video card from my workstation and stick it in the server to see why it's not booting (the server is completely headless - no video, keyboard, or mouse). It turns out the computer isn't detecting the hard drive. Sh*t! Is it the motherboard or is it the drive? I try switching the drive to to the workstation (which also requires I move the power supply and video card back). Ok, power up. Uh, oh! Not only is it not detecting the drive, the video is screwed up. Double sh*t! In the process of moving equipment around it looks like I zapped my expensive video card - and yes, the hard drive is completely dead. The following day I popped down to the computer store and picked up the cheapest video card they carried (US$38). The server will have to wait. I need to replace it completely. I've lost a lot of data. All my blogs, experimental firewalling code, possibly my history web pages, lots more. I know the rule, I just didn't follow it. "Backup your system because it's not a question of 'if' the drive will fail. It's a question of 'when'."

Posted by: Rossz at Thursday, September 25 2003 12:07 PM (43SjN)

10 Ouchie. That's gotta hurt. All my work - my music, my novel, my programs - are backed up to the server at work. My web pages (all the mu.nu sites, in fact) are backed up twice a day to my server at home. But I have a huge collection of... stuff... That I'd rather not lose if I can help it. Hence the DVD burner.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Thursday, September 25 2003 12:29 PM (jtW2s)

11 Well, it gets worse. I had hoped the brand new 60 Gig Western Digital drive had survived. It didn't. It contained /home and another paritition that was used for general purpose file storage. That's where I told my wife to store all her important files for safety. Lots of irreplacable files. It's still under warranty, I suppose. Though they might argue it was "abused". One day my wife might forgive me for losing her files. I don't expect that day to be any time soon. I called a data recovery service. It's about US$4,500 per drive. Definately not in the budget. So who's responsible? 1. Me. I should have returned the tape drive a long time ago and found another solution instead of being pig-headed about it and continuing my fruitless attempt at getting it to work. 2. Seagate. For selling a device that is advertised as Linux compatible, but isn't (I'm not the only person who had trouble getting this piece of crap to work under linux). 3. Maxtor and Western Digitial. For leaving out a 50 cent part that would have protected the drive from a power surge. When I can finally afford a new system, I will get a DVD burner, too. Damn, that pretty much doubled the replacement cost. I hope my job interview goes well tomorrow. One day, old system administrators will tell my story to their grandchildren to scare them.

Posted by: Rossz at Thursday, September 25 2003 02:57 PM (43SjN)

12 That sucks :( I've had six drives die over the past two years (poxy bloody IBM disks), but never without warning (they make horrible noises for a few days before they die) so I haven't lost anything much. What might work is to buy another drive of exactly the same model, and swap controller boards (on the drive itself). This has actually been done successfully at least once.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Thursday, September 25 2003 11:18 PM (LBXBY)

13 And someone thinks that 200TB will hold all human knowledge. Sounds like you have a good chunk of that yourself, Pixy.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward at Saturday, September 27 2003 01:30 AM (1/d9U)

14 I have had many hard drives die. It hurts. Perhaps you could get a few tips from this site. http://www.datamole.com

Posted by: hard drive recovery at Thursday, September 30 2004 09:38 AM (RKRdf)

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